Monthly Archives: February 2010

1968-1969 Plymouth/Dodge Intermediate: 425 hp

For 1968, Chrysler helped the Hemi a bit with a better cam, different valve springs, and a windage tray in the oil pan to hold the oil away from the crank, thereby reducing parasitic power losses. Output was perhaps 30 horsepower stronger, although the 425-hp rating did not change.

In those days, the advertised rating was taken from a dyno test using optimum mixture and spark advance, no air cleaner, and no mufflers. It had nothing to do with the engine’s breathing ability when installed in a car. The success of the Hemi had everything to do with its in-car equipment. No other production car has ever had an exhaust system of greater capacity, and the two in-line four-barrel carburetors drew through an air cleaner about the diameter of a manhole. The Hemi lost a lot of power in this civilizing process, but what was left was still more than any other car on the street had.

In normal driving, the Hemi was quieter than many muscle-car engines of the day, but that changed when you stepped into the power. The exhaust pulses turned hard – “like machine-gun fire,” said one engineer at the time – and they boomed loudly up through the floor.

Early in the 1969 model year, I ran a Hemi Road Runner automatic through the quarter-mile at New York National Speedway: 13.5 seconds at 105 mph. 1968 introduction was halted immediately, and the engineers went back to the lab to invent more horsepower.

Coordinator at Memories Show & Shine

I am trying to locate the marketing or event coordinator at Memories Show & Shine so I hope that this email will get to the right person.

My name is J.J. Lobe and I manage the Saskatchewan/Manitoba office for our company called FreshAirCinema – The Outdoor Movie Company. We specialize in hosting large-scale outdoor movie events with our massive 3-story inflatable movie screens. For the most part, we host 2 different types of events; 1) The “Open Air Cinema” where you bring a blanket or lawn chair to watch movies under the stars in your park or green space or 2) The Traditional “Drive In Theatre” where we broadcast FM to your car stereo and can turn any parking lot into a custom-made drive in theatre. Both are fantastic to host/attend!

The reason I am contacting you today is that I wanted to quickly introduce myself and our company to see if Memories Show & Shine might be interested in partnering to host an outdoor movie night. We can literally turn your parking lot into a custom made drive-in theatre.

We have hosted over 1000 outdoor movie events since we started this company 4 years ago and we are having a blast!

The reason I thought you might be interested in us is that we are actually working with many other car clubs/dealerships throughout Canada to host drive-in theatre nights in each of their respective communities this summer. Our product seems to be a great cost effective way for car dealerships to give back to their respective communities and attract future clients.

Our drive-in screens can accommodate up to 600 cars or more!

There is nothing better than watching your favorite movie under the stars. Viewers get all the things we love about going to the movies…popcorn, a great flick, hanging out with friends…plus the enjoyment of sitting in the great outdoors on a beautiful summer night. We simply find a large grassy area, set up the screen and video projector and voila…welcome to the show.

If you would like more information about our company; how we operate, rates, sizes of screens, references etc. – by all means just let me know. I would be more than happy to send you an information package about our services.

Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.

Take care.

J.J. Lobe
FreshAirCinema – The Outdoor Movie Company
Regional Manager – SK/MB
888.358.4285 Toll Free
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Winnipeg Manitoba Used Autos Cars

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Wpg Auto

Memorable Trips In Yesteryear’s Cars

Everyone can recall a memorable family vacation. Maybe you left a box of crayons in the summer sun, leaving a puddle of multicolored wax. Or you sat on your father’s glasses, leaving the rest of his vacation a blur.

We asked readers to tell us about their family vacations and the cars, vans, trucks and campers that made them so much fun.

The occasion for all this nostalgia is “Are We There Yet?,” a temporary exhibit on the American vacation. It opened Saturday at the Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St., and continues through May 2.

Becky Deterding of Springview, Neb., remembers the great times and the not-so-great times with her father, mother and four brothers in her dad’s 1956 Chrysler New Yorker Town and Country station wagon.
Are We There Yet?
What: Temporary exhibit of vintage pedal cars pays tribute to the tradition of the American vacation Where: Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St.
When: Saturday through May 2; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays
Admission: Free with regular admission: $7 for adults; $6 for those age 62 and older; and $5 for children ages 3 to 12
Information: and 444-5071

“What I would give to have ‘the Monster’ take us for another ride down memory lane with Dad behind the wheel,” Deterding wrote.

So get your nose out out of those comic books — or video games — and enjoy the view.

Mid-1950s Chevrolet

“I much prefer the mountains to the seashore,” lifelong Omahan Marcia Greer says.

Her preference was probably set by the time she finished grade school, thanks to vacations in the family Chevrolet.

As a kid, she traveled with parents Betty and Wayne Wiedman and older sister Sheri to her father’s home state of Montana. On the way they usually visited Yellowstone or Rocky Mountain National Park. Marcia remembers that her father preferred to buy car models in even-numbered years and surmises that the dark-turquoise car in this cherished photo is a 1956 Chevy.

1966 Ford Country Squire station wagon

Omahan Sheila Froendt thinks she heard “Are we there yet?” at least 200 times as a kid when she traveled with her family to California’s Bay Area in July 1970.

“Back then, kids didn’t have video games and cell phones, and so it got boring,” she said. “I think we had a box of crayons and a coloring book.”

Her parents, Omahans Robert and Ann Christian, traveled with their 10 children, ages 5 to 17, camping along the route. Half of the family slept in the station wagon with father on the front seat, and the other half slept with mother in the wooden camper that they towed.

“The trip wouldn’t have been possible without the awesome 1966 Ford Country Squire station wagon that my dad purchased earlier that year,” Froendt wrote.

“To this day, that car remains his favorite. It was the only car he ever owned that could hold the family of 12. It got us to California and wherever else we needed to go and never gave him any trouble. It was beautiful: deep burgundy brown, wood-grain trim on the side.”

1929 Model A

“Maps? We didn’t need no stinkin’ maps,” Gerald Gutoski of Omaha said of his summer travels as a teen in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

His brother Peter’s 1929 Model A was their transportation for trips that lasted up to three months.

Gutoski was 14 and his brother was 16 when they began one 1959 adventure. They traveled to the Black Hills of South Dakota and Winnipeg, Canada. Then they aimed south, with a goal of crossing every mountain in Colorado. They concluded with a swing by the Gulf of Mexico and arrived home in Omaha in time to return to school. They pulled a trailer of spare auto parts — and they needed them. At one point they stopped for a week to overhaul the engine.

1954 Ford Coupe

“Faith, Family and Vacations!” is the motto Catherine S. Heck of Omaha remembers from her childhood in the 1960s.

Her parents took her and her four brothers and sisters on camping vacations in Yellowstone and Rocky Mountain National Parks, the Badlands, around the Great Lakes and in the woods of Minnesota and the Ozarks. And they were often accompanied by her mother’s mentally disabled brother and a woman they considered their grandmother.

“Fellow campers used to gape, seeing nine people emerge from the two-door ’54 Ford Coupe,” Heck wrote. “My parents developed a process for us to pitch camp within 15 to 20 minutes, rain or shine. The kids also learned how to make use of time in the car since we were discouraged from asking ‘Are we there yet?’ We played games such as ‘I Spy’ and ‘Author, Author’ and spelled out road signs in code: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot and so on.”

Heck and her sisters now treasure memories of those trips and the 80-some carousels of photo slides taken and cataloged by her father.

1949 Chevrolet

A cross-country vacation in a shiny new, pale green 1949 Chevrolet was an eye-opener for Omahan Mary-Alice Hurlburt and her sister in 1950.

“In that ’49 Chevy, with melted crayons flooded across the back ledge and gumdrops smeared into the fabric of the backseat, we discovered the ‘Wild West’ as no kid today can imagine,” Hurlburt wrote. “That car took us up logging roads and across rocky stream beds in Montana where we would drive all day and never meet another soul.

“We saw deer, moose, mountain lions and bears. We traced the foundation of a log cabin in which Dad had been born. We climbed into a hollow tree where our grandfather had taken refuge one night when a mountain lion had followed him home from the Copper King Mines where he worked.

“In spite of what Dad might have thought as he grumbled ‘Get your nose outta those &%$#@ comic books!’ we really did learn to love the incredible beauty of our precious United States of America. And it all started in the back seat of a ’49 Chevy.”

1960 Ford Thunderbird

Herb Worthington of Grand Island, Neb., says he’ll never forget his September 1964 trip with his wife from their home in Ohio to California in their creme-colored ’60 T-Bird.

“Dumb move No. 1: I discovered the little distance scale on state maps after we drove for what seemed like forever in Texas to get one-third of the way across it,” he wrote. “Every state looked to be the same size as Ohio in the maps. This oversight blew our schedule completely, we couldn’t go all the way to California.”

Early 1950s Chevrolet bus

The Bourne family of Omaha’s Holy Name Parish always wanted to see bears on their family vacations in the late 1960s. And they were able to do so in their 54-passenger school bus converted into a camper.

Omahan John F. Bourne, the oldest of Jack’s and Bev Bourne’s seven kids, says the “Big Red Bus” was probably a 1952 Chevrolet.

“There are a million stories, from racing the bus on Padre Island surf, church in small towns, collecting nickel pop bottles, watching man land on the moon in a campground in Canada, to the new friends picked up along the way, as well as Father Quinn’s blessing the bus before starting out to make sure we made it,” Bourne wrote.

“We were never content to just look at a bear hanging out on the highway looking for a handout. We wanted to find where all the bears hung out. We would drive around the campground until we found our target: a garbage truck. A garbage truck would always lead us to our prey. The bears of Yellowstone, Banff and the Tetons were not real hard workers. …

“By following the guide, our friends in the garbage truck, we had an inside pass to many, many bear sightings. Big, small, brown and black, mother and cubs it was always quite a show. We were safe in our moving theater (the bus) to one of nature’s most beautiful animals. … This was the best part of vacation, seeing the animals that a lot of people normally don’t get to see. I’ll never forget our trips in the “Big Red Bus.”

1956 Chrysler New Yorker Town and Country station wagon

Becky Deterding, now of Springview, Neb., remembers how her father loved to see what was over the next hill or around the corner, even if it was off the road.

One day in 1963 her father took the family from their home in Stockton, Ill., to Timber Lake for a day of swimming and fun. But it ended with a long walk to find a farmer with a tractor to get them out of the mud.

As Deterding remembers it, her father became fascinated by a path that looked like it could handle motorized vehicles. He piled the family in his monstrously large 1956 Chrysler New Yorker Town and Country station wagon and off they went.

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1966-1967 Chevy II SS327: 350 hp

Muscle cars were mostly intermediates with big-block engines. Customers thought big was better. Engineers knew otherwise, knew that a high power-to-weight ratio was the key. In 1966, Chevy was the only maker with a small block that would really run (the 271-hp 289 Ford was a stone). The 350-hp 327 in approximately Corvette tune, dropped into a Chevy II, didn’t have the juke-box magic of a 409 or a 427. Still, that combination made for one of the sneakiest muscle cars ever built.

In those days, you tended to hunt for strokes in bigger iron, in GTOs and 4-4-2s. You might not notice a Chevy II in traffic until he got half a car-length on you. Even in a boss machine, you might have to run to 80 or 90 mph to get it back. That’s how fast those Chevy IIs were. My memory says ETs in the upper fourteens and speeds in the middle nineties, which was very quick in 1966. I vividly remember a Chrysler test of a 350-hp Chevy II and the resulting panic: the Mopar 340 small block as originally planned for a smooth, quiet at idle, tractable in traffic. Most of the moving parts inside were different from the official race hardware, but they were far more rugged than the usual high-performance street components. Hemi cars had specially reinforced bodies, too. Chrysler did the job right and priced the Hemi option accordingly – $907.60. In 1966, that was about half the price of a new VW.

In C/D’s first Hemi road test (April 1966), we said: “A quick stab at the throttle pedal – in any old gear -will send the tachometer needle flying around the tach like a teeny little Fiat Abarth, or a Ferrari. It just doesn’t feel like a seven-liter engine-except for the fact that you’re suddenly doing 120 and you don’t know how you got there.” The test page reported a quarter-mile elapsed time of 13.8 seconds at 104 mph.

1970-1971 Plymouth/Dodge Intermediate: 425 hp

For the last two years of its production life, the Street Hemi had hydraulic lifters, but the cam retained approximately the same valve events as before. Street Hemis ran best with their valve lash adjusted just right, and hydraulics were the factory’s way of making sure it stayed that way regardless of the owner’s maintenance habits.

Hemis were easy to drive in commuter traffic but hard to race from a standing start because of the way the carburetors worked. At light throttle, the engine ran on the front half of the rear four-barrel. As the pedal went down, the primaries of the front four-barrel opened, followed after a bit by both secondaries at once. A good launch required enough wheelspin to get the revs up into the torque range, but it was easy to open too many throttles too soon and burn the tires. The necessary technique was quite challenging with a four-speed. If you were Hemi hunting in a lesser car, you wanted to catch him at a stop. If he fumbled and you were lucky enough to pull out a fender-length on him, you claimed victory early by backing off the power, thereby ending the run. If you were crazy enough to stay on it, the Hemi would take over in short order.

The introduction of – and improvements in – the bias-belted tire in this period greatly increased traction. ET’s were maybe a 0.1 second or so quicker than earlier Hemis, while trap speed remained the same.

1986 Ford Taurus/Mercury Sable

Back in 1982, Ford brought out its first soft-form car, the Thunderbird, and unlocked the door to aerodynamic shapes in the 1980s- “membrane cars,” as Art Center College of Design prof Strother MacMinn calls them, because they look as if their smooth skin had been pulled taut over the underpinnings, like a membrane. If the T-Bird unlocked the door for slicked-back sedans, the Ford Taurus and the Mercury Sable stove it in.

It’s hard to believe that just four short model years ago the management in Dearborn was as jittery as a pen full of hens over the public acceptance of its new offspring. The new cars were replacing models as square-edged as a box of animal crackers, but that didn’t faze middle America. The Taurus has managed a top-three finish in the sales race every year since it arrived. It sold more than 360,000 copies in 1989 – and that doesn’t count Sables, which added another 115,000 cars to the total.

Since the Taurus/Sable appeared, almost every new mid-sized, mid-priced sedan has been a virtual knockoff. These, days even the most formal luxury sedans have a slightly melted look. General motors’ phalanx of GM10 sedans are Taurus/Sable derivatives. Chrysler has added its Spirit and Acclaim. But not one of the obsequious followers has equaled the Taurus/Sable for sheer visual impact or innovation.

And it’s not over yet, out intelligence gathering network reports. The next generation of mid-sized sedans, due in the first few years of the new decade, will expand upon the current theme, so it looks like the membrane era of design will be with us until nearly the year 2000. Design wise, we could think of worse ways to close out the millennium.

Hyundai Elantra

The Elantra SE is a well-rounded package with roomy cabin, a comfortable ride, nice fit and finish, and a quiet interior. It provides excellent braking and very secure emergency handling, aided by the SE’s standard electronic stability control. Fuel economy is respectable at 27 mpg overall. Acceleration is adequate if not breathtaking. Reliability has been well above average.

Handling, Ride, and Powertrain

In addition to standard ESC, the SE has wider tires than the lower-trim GLS model. That helps it deliver notably better cornering grip and braking performance. In this group, the Elantra SE achieved the shortest braking distances and the fastest maximum speed through our avoidance maneuver. Still, the car leans a bit in turns. While the steering response is appropriate, it falls short on feedback. A relatively tight 37-foot turning circle aids in tight maneuvers. The Elantra provides a good ride for a small car, absorbing road bumps fairly well. The cabin stays commendably quiet with subdued levels of wind and road noise.

The 132-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine provides reasonable acceleration, and the four-speed automatic transmission shifted smoothly and responsively. But the zigzag shift gate can be awkward to use.

Inside the Cabin

Nicely grained plastics appoint the Elantra’s interior and most panel fits are tight. The dash top is soft to the touch, however most other interior plastics are hard. Drivers sit up high, where they have a good view over the low dash. There is plenty of head, foot, and knee room for all but the tallest people. The steering wheel both tilts and telescopes on the SE version and there is a well-placed left footrest.

Front seats are roomy and well padded but a bit flat; there is some lateral support, but it could be better. Tall drivers found the seat cushion too short for adequate thigh support. Gripes included the lack of lumbar-support and cushion-tilt adjustments.

The well-contoured rear seat is among the best in the class. Head and leg room are adequate for six-footers, but the seat is a bit narrow to fit three of them comfortably.

Most controls are simple and well laid out. But the displays tend to wash out in bright sunlight. The radio has big buttons and a tuning knob, and the climate control uses large, simple knobs. There is an auxiliary audio jack for MP3 players. The climate system is easy to use, but there is no outside temperature display.

The nice-sized trunk can be expanded by lowering the 60/40-split rear seat backs. But the deck lid lacks a liner, as well as any good place to grasp it when closing the trunk.

Gas Saving Sedan

The Refined Elantra SE Beats the very thrifty Corolla

With record-setting gas prices and an ailing economy, more people are turning to small cars to ease the strain on their budgets. The good news is that you don’t have to make as many sacrifices as before.

Even with prices under $20,000, the best of today’s small cars provide many convenience features, comfortable interiors, good refinement, and improved fuel economy, our road tests show.

For this report, we compared the Hyundai Elantra SE, which we named our small sedan Top Pick in our annual April Auto Issue, with five other cars, including the redesigned for 2009 Toyota Corolla. Despite excellent fuel economy, the Toyota doesn’t measure up to the Elantra SE, which remains our top-rated small sedan.

Rounding out our group is the redesigned Subaru Impreza, the freshened Ford Focus, and Chevrolet’s Aveo and Cobalt. Only the Impreza earns the top level recommendation in our Ratings of 31 small cars and subcompacts. We predict good reliability for the Impreza based on past Subarus. The Elantra and Focus are also recommended in this group. We don’t have reliability data yet on the Corolla. The Cobalt and Aveo scored too low in our tests to recommend them.

The Elantra’s top Rating in this class shows how far Hyundai has come in the last decade. Its cars used to be unreliable and unrefined, with low scores in our testing: now some compete with the best in their classes. Like Elantra GLS we tested for our October 2007 issue, the top-of-the-line SE delivers a comfortable ride, a roomy interior with nice fit and finish, and good fuel economy. And the SE provides better braking and handling than the GLS, thanks to wider tires and standard electronic stability control, an important safety feature that’s either optional or is not available on the other sedans here. Yet the SE is very competitively priced.

Prices for the six cars in our tested group range from $16,205 for the subcompact Aveo LT to $19,106 for the Impreza 2.5i. All but the Aveo have standard head-protecting curtain air bags. In insurance-industry side-crash tests, side and curtain air bags have been shown to significantly reduce the potential for injury, especially in small vehicles.

The Walk-around Inspection

You’ll find the oil filler cap somewhere on the valve cover. If the engine is a longitudinally-installed V6 or V8 the cap could be on either valve cover, if the engine is a transverse installation, the oil filler cap will always be on the front valve cover. Some oil filler caps on older vehicles have a hose running to the PCV filter in the air cleaner housing; later caps have no hose but are clearly marked. Always make sure the area around the opening is clean before unscrewing the cap to prevent dirt from contaminating the engine.

Check the Oil

Find the oil filler cap. It’s almost always located on top of the valve cover on inline four and six-cylinder engines, or – on one of the valve covers on V6 and V8 engines. Unscrew the oil filler cap turn it upside down and look at it. The oil may look brand new. Don’t be surprised. Sellers often change the oil before putting a used car on the market. Or the oil on the bottom of the cap may look used and even dirty, but that’s okay. What’s not okay is the underside of a cap coated by a light brown frothy sludge with the appearance and consistency of a chocolate milkshake! There may also be small droplets of water or coolant mixed with the oily sludge. This condition indicates coolant has gotten into the oil from a failed gasket, or worse yet, a cracked cylinder head or block. Whatever the case, the vehicle should not be driven far, or at all, until the condition is repaired.

Son Local Winnipeg British Auto Dealer Eugene Oregon

Auto dealer John Sheppard had an inkling that something was up when former Eugene Mayor Jim Torrey called him two times to remind him of their lunch date last month at the Waterfront Restaurant.

When Sheppard showed up, he was ushered into a private dining room, where a who’s who of Eugene power brokers, including Carolyn Chambers, Dave Frohnmayer and Sister Monica Heeran, were seated around a table.

“I said, ‘Whoa,’?” he recalled Friday. “What’s the deal?”

The deal was that Sheppard had been named First Citizen by the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce for his contributions to the community — “the ultimate honor,” he said.

Sheppard is best known as the owner of Sheppard Motors, a 60-year-old family business that sells Volvos, Volkswagens and Hyundais. But Sheppard, 63, has long been involved in supporting community programs and organizations, notably the Great Rotary Duck Race and the Relief Nursery, as well as the arts community.

“In business, we have skills that we can transfer to a different world,” he said. “It’s fun for me to bring the passion I have, what it takes to sell and market, and use it in a different place.”

Sheppard got involved in the Rotary Duck Race around 1990, a year or two after the charity event began. Organizers were looking for a grand prize. Sheppard agreed to donate a car, but on the condition that he could be on the event’s steering committee to help make sure it was a success, he said.

The main beneficiary of the duck race was the Relief Nursery, a Eugene nonprofit organization that helps low-income families at risk for child abuse. In 1992, when the Relief Nursery needed to raise $1.2 million to build a headquarters, Sheppard was asked to serve as chairman of the fundraising campaign. Sheppard said he had not a clue how to run a capital campaign, but he took on the job and spearheaded an effort to raise the money in 18 months.

“It was an extraordinary experience,” he said.

“The building that we’re in today is because of John’s commitment and his vision,” said Irene Alltucker, executive director of Relief Nursery.

Sheppard’s father, Harry Sheppard, founded Eugene’s first foreign-car dealership in 1950 after emigrating from Winnipeg, Canada. A car enthusiast who liked to race on weekends, Harry Sheppard sold MGs and Jaguars as well as more obscure brands that have long since disappeared, including Hillman Minx, Humber, Sunbeam and Talbot.

“It was very small, very personal, very hands-on,” John Sheppard said, recalling that his father not only sold cars, but fixed them as well.

Sheppard said he washed cars on the weekend when he was in junior high. And when he was in high school, he’d take the bus to Portland on Saturday mornings, take a taxi to the port, and drive home a car fresh off the docks for his father to sell.

He served as an officer in the U.S. Army after going through Reserve Officers Training Corps at the University of Oregon and spent 91/2 months in Vietnam. While he was in Vietnam, his father wrote to him, saying he was ready to retire and travel, and that John needed to decide if he wanted to take over the business.

When John Sheppard came back, he took the wheel. His father stuck around for six months, then got in his motor home and promised to call every Friday.

Sheppard steered the business through recessions and changes in the brand lineup. He picked up the Jeep dealership in 1981 in the depths of a recession — a move that paid off a few years later when Jeep introduced the Cherokee, which became a hugely popular vehicle.

Sheppard Motors lost the Jeep brand last year when its corporate parent, Chrysler, took it away and awarded it to Lithia Motors. The loss of Jeep was a bitter pill and a potentially devastating loss, but a few months later, Sheppard’s partner Phil Speers negotiated a deal to buy the local Hyundai franchise from Kendall Auto Group.

“It was a good move,” Sheppard said.

On Friday afternoon, Sheppard was chatting outside his Volvo dealership with one of the family’s oldest customers, Jim McKee of Pleasant Hill and his wife, Lois. McKee bought a Hillman Minx from Harry Sheppard in the early 1950s. Later, he bought a Sunbeam and a Jaguar among other sporty foreign models.

“In my younger days I was a car nut,” McKee said.

Last year McKee “defected” and bought a Buick, but on Friday, he was getting ready to trade it in for a Volvo station wagon.